Should you Refurbish and Reuse Broken, Worn or Torn Office Chairs?

Office furniture ages over time. Seat pads get worn, arm rests tear and mechanical adjustments wear down. During an internal shift, there’s the employee scramble where everyone hunts for the best of the leftover chairs.

Most companies do not have a plan in place to refurbish, reuse or buy new chairs. There are several areas of consideration with this practice including age, condition and cost to refurbish versus replacing the chairs.

Or should you ignore it and make do with what you have? Since 95% of a persons working life is spent seated, ignoring this is probably not a good practice and should be avoided when this inaction has a potential for a morale issue with a loss in productivity. Research has shown that a good personal working environment where the employee is made to feel valued can raise productivity by over 5%. A decent chair promotes the health and wellbeing of the staff.

What can your company do if the cost to purchase new is prohibitive? Here a few thoughts from facility managers in a LinkedIn discussion group.

Refurbishment and Reuse Option
99% of chair issues are wear and tear and all that is required is a cosmetic recover or minor component replacement to double or even triple their useful life, at a fraction of the cost of buying new. On a brand name chair, you might expect to see an 80% saving against new. A commercial office chair can sometimes provide loaner chairs while yours are away being renovated. Good chairs come with decent guarantees. If there is an issue, check with your manufacturer first. Even if it’s out of warranty, often worn seat pads or mechanisms can replaced at a fraction of the cost.

When purchasing new, ask if the warranty and replacing parts includes gas cylinders, arm pads, arm releases, back rests and casters. If a chair is within warranty, the manufacturer should always be the first point of contact. Most reputable manufacturers are very good and helpful and pride themselves that new ranges of chairs are designed specifically to cover these issues.

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4 Comments on Should you Refurbish and Reuse Broken, Worn or Torn Office Chairs?

  1. Good chairs in an office environment are the key to good health. The better the chair, the happier your staff.

  2. As us usual, it depends probably on the quality of the chair and the manufacture. If you have a large number say between 200 and 800 then go back and get an agreement with the suppliers/manufacturer to refurb them either on site or off site.
    If I was buying that number in the first place a refurb requirement would be part of the orginal purchase deal.

  3. Office chairs are likely to wear a lot quicker than other furniture items. This is why they need to be replaced so frequently. If you make your employees sit in worn chairs they could get unnecessay aches and pains from the poor support offered by a damaged chair, so it is important to do something about old chairs before this happens.

  4. Dear Rich,
    You point out a fact that needs to be reinforced, “Since 95% of a persons working life is spent seated, ignoring this is probably not a good practice and should be avoided when this inaction has a potential for a morale issue with a loss in productivity”. At Lewis Alan Office Furniture, Inc. we emphasize the chair as the central focus of the workstation. In today’s marketplace you cannot afford to offer seating that cannot be warranted by both the Mfg. and the Dealer who ultimately interacts with the client on a day to day basis.
    I might also add that the two of us share a longstanding relationship with the US Green Building Council and would encourage buyers to look towards those seating options that provide for the “Triple Bottom Line” of socially
    responsible, ecologically respectful, and financially sound Mfgs. of seating options. It is inherently better to repair and keep a good chair then to continually toss out and replace bad ones.

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